Christina board votes to cre­ate su­per­in­ten­dent search com­mit­tee

Newark Post - - Local News - By JES­SICA IAN­NETTA jian­netta@ches­pub.com

Af­ter nearly two hours of de­bate, the Christina School District Board of Ed­u­ca­tion voted Tues­day night to form a su­per­in­ten­dent search com­mit­tee and be­gin gath­er­ing in­put from board mem­bers on what they want in the district’s next leader.

Though the com­mit­tee’s ex­act role and who would be on it has yet to be de­cided, the school board agreed to meet again on April 26 to fur­ther de­fine the search process and dis­cuss their own thoughts on what type of per­son the district should hire for the top job.

As a ba­sis for this up­com­ing dis­cus­sion, board mem­bers have been asked to sub­mit an­swers to a se­ries of ques­tions pro­vided to the board dur­ing a work­shop last week fa­cil­i­tated by a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Univer­sity of Delaware’s In­sti­tute for Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion. The ques­tions cover top­ics such as over­all search strat­egy, how to en­gage the com­mu­nity, what qual­i­ties ap­pli­cants need and how th­ese ap­pli­cants should be screened.

Tues­day night’s vote rep­re­sents the first of­fi­cial step the board has taken in the su­per­in­ten­dent search process. CSD has been with­out a per­ma­nent su­per­in­ten­dent since Free­man Wil­liams took a leave of ab­sence due to health con­cerns last Au­gust, be­fore ul­ti­mately re­tir­ing in Fe­bru­ary. Robert An­drze­jew­ski has served as act­ing su­per­in­ten­dent since Oc­to­ber but said he would likely not be able to serve past the end of the cal­en­dar year.

With that dead­line now about eight months away, the board still has yet to de­fine many as­pects of the search, in­clud­ing when and how the com­mu­nity should be in­volved and what role an out­side con­sult­ing firm might play in the process.

Board Vice Pres­i­dent Fred Po­laski said dur­ing dis­cus­sions, he keeps com­ing back to the fact that the board needs to de­fine a scope of work in or­der to hire an out­side com­pany or fa­cil­i­ta­tor but also needs a fa­cil­i­ta­tor to help them de­fine the scope of work.

“I’m in a cir­cu­lar ar­gu­ment about where do you start the process and how do you de­fine it so you can get a fa­cil­i­ta­tor in here to help,” Po­laski said.

The ac­tion item passed on Tues­day out­lines a process by which the board would pro­vide an ini­tial search process frame­work and then turn that frame­work over to a search com­mit­tee, which would mod­ify it as it sees fit and then pro­vide a rec­om­men­da­tion to the board “in a man­ner suf­fi­cient to de­fine the scope of work.” The board would then re­view the scope of work and hire an out­side firm to ex­e­cute the process.

Dur­ing Tues­day’s dis­cus­sion, the board did unan­i­mously agree to strike a sen­tence from the orig­i­nal ac­tion item that would have made the ref­er­en­dum steer­ing com­mit­tee the ba­sis for the new su­per­in­ten­dent search com­mit­tee af­ter de­cid­ing the ref­er­en­dum com­mit­tee was not fully rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the com­mu­nity.

Con­versely, board mem­ber Ge­orge Evans, who cast the lone “no” vote on the ac­tion item, ex­pressed con­cern that the process didn’t in­volve the board enough, not­ing that many suc­cess­ful searches have been “board heavy.”

“Not hav­ing the board in­volved, I see it as a dis­as­ter,” he said.

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